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An Exclusive Interview
with Director Ryu Seung-Wan
Thanks to Kima, Cinespot was able to conduct an exclusive interview with Korean director
Ryu Seung-Wan on UC Berkeley campus in early September 2002. As the primary guest of the film festival who
was supposed to attend numerous events, director Ryu was very kind to share his time with us. Since he
was well prepared, the interview ran smooth. One exciting fact about this interview is, director Ryu did
not only talk about his films, but also provided us an overview of the Korean film industry, which I thought
was really insightful. This is absolutely an invaluable resource for those who are interested in learning more
about director Ryu and the Korean film market.
The interview was conducted in English by our guest interviewer Wilda Wong, while the questions were constructed
by me. I also acted as the photographer during the interview. In addition, I wanted to appreciate two persons - Lee Jong-suk, the
President of Kima, for arranging the interview for us, and Professor Kim Kyu-Hyun, who was kind enough to volunteer as our
Enjoy the interview below!
Who is Ryu Seung-Wan?
For those who do not know who Ryu Seung-Wan is, here below is a short biography:
Ryu Seung-Wan is a very young and energetic director in Korea. His debut film Die Bad
was one of the most highly praised works of 2000. A few months later, he impressed the
audience again with his DV shorts. In 2002, he finally directed his first ever feature film,
No Blood No Tears and it further secured his position as one of the most promising
directors of his generation.
No Blood No Tears
Cinespot: I heard that a US production company wants to do a remake of No Blood No Tears and
is working on the license, what do you think about that?
Ryu: I feel very positive about it. I think it is an honor for me. Korean films and culture are not
known until then. I hope the remake will be an infiltration of the korean culture into the us market.
Generally, I consider it to be very positive. The only problem is that the money they pay for the right
to remake is not that much. I wish it's a little more. (laugh)
Cinespot: Do you think the remake will make a success in the US?
Ryu: It depends on what producer and what kind of screenplay they have. I don't have much to say about that.
A lot of Korean movies have right being sold to US companies, but not a single movie has actually be shown
or released, I am very curious about how the process will turn out to be. One question
I am concerned is that, what if the movie being remade is too successful? I was afraid
that if the remake becomes too successful in the U.S., it will become
a cheap source of ideas for Hollywood (note: because the rights to his film and
other Korean films were bought for a very very low price), and
I don' t want this to happen because it will ruin Korean cinema's chances
abroad if the U.S. takes all the ideas away. So if people still love (American actors like) Tom
Cruise more than Asian actors (even famous ones like Chow Yun Fat), then
those movies with Americans in it will take away any chances of Korean
cinema being visible in the world.
Cinespot: What was it like working with Jeon Do-Yeon? Do you think you will work with her again in the
Ryu: She is a professional actress and it was very comfortable working with her. We
may work together again later, or we may not, it all depends on circumstances. In Korea, the star power
is very big. The director was supposed to choose the actors or actresses, but in fact, the actresses choose
the director in most cases. Because I am married, I am not popular among young actresses. (laugh)
Cinespot: Was Jeon Do-Yeon your first choice for No Blood No Tears?
Ryu: Originally it was not Jeon Do-Yeon. Anyway, in No Blood No Tears, What I wanted was to
deglamorize her to a certain extent. That's my intention. It was interesting to see whether a glamorous
woman like Jeon Do-Yeon can become a desperate woman. To have somebody who is beautiful and doesn't
have that image (the desperate woman character in No Blood No Tears) and make her into that kind of
character was very interesting.
For Part II of the interview, please click here!